Pärt, Arvo

Pärt, Arvo
born Sept. 11, 1935, Paide, Est.

Estonian composer.

After years of experimentation, he began in the late 1970s to produce his own distinctive music. A devoutly Orthodox Christian, he developed a style based on the slow modulation of sounds such as those produced by bells and pure voice tones, a technique reminiscent of the medieval Notre-Dame school and the sacred music of Eastern Orthodoxy. His major works include the violin concerto Tabula Rasa (1977), Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (1977), Magnificat-Antiphones (1988), and The Beatitudes (1991).

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▪ 1996

      Dubbed a "Holy Minimalist" by one reviewer and described as neo-Baroque by others, Arvo Pärt in 1995 continued to captivate classical music listeners. In 1995 the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, on their first North American tour, featured Pärt's works in concert. Their program's particular draw was Pärt's Te Deum, which they had recorded (1993) on the ECM label and which had topped the classical music charts. Ten years earlier few Americans had heard Pärt's name, much less his music. Since that time, however, something about his simplicity and medieval liturgical sound appeared to have struck a chord throughout the Western world.

      Born on Sept. 11, 1935, in Paide, Estonia, Pärt showed an early interest in music. After putting in the requisite time in military service, he enrolled in 1958 at the music conservatory in Tallinn. From 1958 to 1967 he worked for the music division of Estonian Radio. He won recognition in Eastern Europe by taking first place in the All-Union Young Composers' Competition for an early popular work, Meie aed (1959; "Our Garden"), a cantata for children's choir and orchestra, and also for the oratorio Maailma samm (1960; "The World's Stride"). Developing an interest in the contemporary 12-tone system (an early 20th-century composing method generally credited to Arnold Schoenberg), he experimented with the system in his own striking composition Nekrolog (1960), the first 12-tone piece written in Estonia. Pärt graduated from the conservatory in 1963. Soon afterward he composed his Symphony No. 1 (1964) and Symphony No. 2 (1966), the latter including quotations from the music of other composers. He also used this collage technique in Credo (1968), a work for piano, mixed chorus, and orchestra. Banned in the U.S.S.R. because of its religious text, Credo also signaled the end of Pärt's experimentation with the 12-tone system.

      Eight years of intensive music study followed. Pärt composed little but film scores during this time, immersing himself in the examination of such forms as the Gregorian chant and Orthodox liturgical music. The first sign of his new musical direction was his Symphony No. 3 (1971), one of the few works he produced during his "years of silence." But it was with the release of his works for strings during the late 1970s—especially Fratres (1977)—that his compositions began to take on the sound most U.S. listeners identified as distinctly Pärtian.

      Pärt's first work written in this new, austere style was a piano piece entitled Für Alina (1976), the work in which he discovered the triad series, which he made his "simple, little guiding rule." Describing the sound of the triad as like that of pealing bells, he called his new method of composition "tintinnabuli style." But whatever he called his style, Pärt produced a simple, intense, and ravishing sound that seemed to communicate directly to a new generation in search of spiritual connection. (KATHLEEN KUIPER)

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Pärt, Arvo — (11 September 1935, Paide, Estonia)    While supporting himself with music for theater and film, Pärt first attracted great attention and political reprobation with Credo (1968) for chorus, orchestra, and piano. He then developed a new homophonic …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • Pärt, Arvo — (n. 11 sep. 1935, Paide, Estonia). Compositor estonio. A fines de la década de 1970, después de años de experimentación, comenzó a crear un tipo de música distintivo. Cristiano ortodoxo devoto, desarrolló un estilo basado en la lenta modificación …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Arvo Pärt — in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 2008 Arvo Pärt (born 11 September 1935; Estonian pronunciation: [ˈɑrvo ˈpært]) is an Estonian classical composer and one of the most prominent living composers of sacred music.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Arvo Pärt — à la Christ Church de Dublin en 2008 Naissance 11 septembre …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Arvo Part — Arvo Pärt in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, 2008 Arvo Pärt (* 11. September 1935 in Paide, Estland) ist ein estnischer Komponist, der als einer der bedeutendsten lebenden Komponisten zeitgenössischer klassischer Musik gilt. Inhaltsverzeichn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pärt — Arvo Pärt in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, 2008 Arvo Pärt (* 11. September 1935 in Paide, Estland) ist ein estnischer Komponist, der als einer der bedeutendsten lebenden Komponisten zeitgenössischer klassischer Musik gilt. Inhaltsverzeichn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • PÄRT (A.) — PÄRT ARVO (1935 ) Le compositeur Arvo Pärt naît le 11 septembre 1935 à Paide, en Estonie. Élève de Heino Eller, il sort diplômé du Conservatoire de Tallinn en 1963. Pour gagner sa vie, il travaille comme ingénieur puis comme directeur du son à la …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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